Cowboys center Phil Costa said he is watching a lot of tape of New York Jets center Nick Mangold.
That is the model for Costa as he works under new Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who helped develop Mangold into a Pro Bowl player.
“I’ve watched tons of tape of Mangold,” Costa said Wednesday at Cowboys Golf Club, where he was set to play in the Cowboys’ annual sponsor appreciation golf tournament. “It’s fun to watch him. He does all the calls that we are using now. Watching him on the field and how he applies them and his technique. He’s a great player, so it’s fun to watch him on tape.”
Costa started every game at center for the Cowboys last year, but he is expected to have competition for the spot this year. Free agent signee Mackenzie Bernadeau and second-year guards Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski have played center.
“He certainly faces competition,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We have a lot of guys, some young guys who we like there, but Phil did a good job for us last year. He’s another one of those guys who came into last season and earned that position – undrafted free agent two years ago, undersized, too this, too that, too much the other, but just said, ‘Hey, I’m a good football player,’ and tried to show us that everyday. He’s a serious-minded kid. He works hard. He’s tough. I think he’s an underappreciated athlete. We’re seeing that more and more now.
“I just think the experience of playing will help him. Having said all that, he’s got to compete every day to earn that job.”
Last year, Costa benefited from the experience of right guard Kyle Kosier. They shared the line-calling duties. But with Kosier’s release, that part of the game falls to Costa now.
“The center definitely takes a lot of responsibility with making all the calls and reading the safeties,” he said. “It’s important you know. We’re watching tons of film right now, just trying to learn everything that we’re putting in. In the long run, it’s going to be pretty good.”
With Callahan, Costa said he is learning more about the center position than he ever imagined.
“You can be in there for days and weeks and months, you can always learn something new,” he said. “That’s what’s fun about it.”
-- Carlos Mendez